Homeschool students have truly come very far to gain recognition not only as homeschoolers, but as professional athletes as well. Studies have shown that standardized tests for homeschoolers have grown some 20 points above average. There are colleges all over the United States who realize the standards of homeschoolers and are opening their doors to them.
There is always the question, can homeschoolers receive athletic scholarships to college. Both the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) recognize the legitimacy of homeschool diplomas and transcripts, making them eligible for athletic scholarships in colleges throughout the country.
The homeschool student athlete attending an NCAA Division I or Division II school must have the institution submit an initial eligibility waiver application to the NCAA national office. The waiver application must include the following:
- Homeschool transcript
- ACT and SAT test scores
- Description of the homeschool teaching environment
- List of titles of all textbooks for homeschool courses
- Copies of the table of content for textbooks utilized in core courses (a sampling)
- Samples of work completed, such as papers by the students In addition, the NCAA also requests a letter from the parent indicating that the homeschooling was conducted in accordance with applicable state laws. (This information received directly from the NCAA website.)
NCAA STATEMENT: “If you want to play NCAA sports at a Division I or II school, you need to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center if you were home schooled for any part of high school. If you are planning to attend a Division III school, you do not need to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.”
NAIA STATEMENT: “Home schooled and GED students must still meet entering freshmen requirements, though the criteria for meeting those requirements have been adapted to fit the distinctive high school experience.”
It has also been noted by Gretchen Carlson who currently serves as anchor of FOX News Channel’s (FNC) “The Real Story”. The following is a clip from Gretchen’s Take: Let homeschooled kids play school sports. (Click Picture to follow link to video.)
Just A Few Famous Homeschooled Athletes
Tim Tebow received an athletic scholarship in 2006 to attend the University of Florida to play for its famous team, the Gators. He was homeschooled by his mother, who instilled in him the family’s Christian beliefs throughout his early years. His standards and views are well known throughout the football community with the use of his eye black/verse and the prayer stance we have come to know and love. He is also the first homeschooler to have won the Heisman Trophy.
Venus and Serena Williams, the well known tennis superstars, were both homeschooled through their elementary years and on into junior high school. They were happy they could focus on what they loved, and grow their talents into who they are today. They were definitely blessed with a gift, but their father took their schedules in hand to make sure both girls would not burn out. The sisters have both went on to do great things with both winning Wimbledon titles in 2012, and also a list of other championships.
Jason Taylor played football at the University of Akron on a NCAA scholarship and later signed a contract to play with the Miami Dolphins. After some research I see that Jason Taylor is the first homeschooled player in the National Football League. Jason Taylor was homeschooled during high school, but he played sports for Woodland Hills High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Michelle Kwan is a five-time world champion figure skater and two-time Olympic medalist. Michelle left public school at the age of 13 to be homeschooled and continue to practice and grow her talent. Michelle Kwan is also known for writing an inspirational book for children titled, The Winning Attitude: What it Takes to be a Champion, and at the age of 17, wrote an autobiobraphy titled, Heart of a Champion.
Importance Of Academics
It’s not only important to be up on your game, but it is even more important to have your academics in good standings. You need to be on top of the course standards and core course requirements for the colleges you are interested in. Have all the information you need ahead of time, as far as transcript requirements and/or scholarship information needed. Start getting your stuff in order, contact the colleges you are looking at to find out their specific athletic requirements. It’s common for high school juniors to have already contacted these colleges for specific course requirements.
The HSLDA has done extensive research into the qualifications for entering the NCAA with athletic scholarships. The NCAA has a PDF entitled “Eligibility Center“, which talks you through the process and helps you know ahead of time, the necessary items needed in your transcript. I have learned that approximately 100 homeschool students each year successfully complete the academic eligibility.
For the Christian homeschooler, the ultimate purpose in life is to glorify God. We need to remember that God requires us to “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” We realize, it is only by God’s grace and mercy that we have these gifts at all. So, with all this said, it is so important to stay focused on your studies, and not give up on your dreams. From the examples I have given above, we can see this is very doable. Nothing is easy or is handed to you – so keep focused and have a good outlook on the tasks needed to achieve your goals.
Through My Eyes
By Tim Tebow with Nathan Whitaker / HarperCollinsOver the past five years Tim Tebow has established himself as one of the greatest quarterbacks in college football history and a top prospect in the NFL. In Through My Eyes he shares his inspiring story. From the circumstances of his birth to Christian missionaries in the Philippines to his homeschool roots and record-setting career with the Florida Gators, Tebow tells how his Christian faith, family values, and determination to succeed propelled him to achieve his dreams.
Michelle Kwan: Heart of a Champion An Autobiography At sixteen, Californian Michelle Kwan claimed the women’s World Champion crown. A bright and appealing role model for kids and adults alike, her story is one of hard work and true achievement.
The Winning Attitude: What it Takes to Be a Champion Here Michelle helps readers to see their own potential – and how to become a champion in their own lives. Reading about Michelle’s experiences will inspire readers and allow them to peek inside the interior world of a champion skater. Quizzes at the end of each chapter will help readers to evaluate themselves so that soon they too can be on the road to making their dreams come true.
On The Line In this compelling and poignant memoir, Serena takes an empowering look at her extraordinary life and what is still to come.